“NOT SUCH A HOUND AS MORTAL EYES HAVE EVER SEEN”: FIRST EDITION OF THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES
CONAN DOYLE, Sir Arthur. The Hound of the Baskervilles. London: George Newnes, 1902. Octavo, original pictorial black- and gilt-stamped red cloth. Housed in a custom clamshell box.
First edition, first issue, of the third Sherlock Holmes novel, widely regarded as the best of the series and “one of the most gripping stories in the English language,” in bright original cloth.
Although Conan Doyle killed off his most famous character by sending Holmes over the Reichenbach Falls in a struggle with Professor Moriarty in “The Final Problem” (December 1893), readers demanded the sleuth’s return. The author obliged with this, the third— and still considered by many the best— Sherlock Holmes novel, carefully positioned on the title page as “another adventure” of Holmes. “But,” as Howard Haycraft notes, “the seed of doubt was planted”; while the novel proved an immediate success, readers pressed for more. Conan Doyle finally relented and engineered Holmes’ “resurrection” in 1903. The Hound of the Baskervilles remains “one of the most gripping books in the language” (Crime & Mystery 100 Best 6). “The supernatural is handled with great effect and no letdown. The plot and subplots are thoroughly integrated and the false clues put in and removed with a master hand. The criminal is superb… and the secondary figures each contribute to the total effect of brilliancy and grandeur combined. One wishes one could be reading it for the first time” (Barzun & Taylor 1142). First issue, with “you” for “your” on page 13, line 3 and the illustration before page 76 reversed (as it was originally in the Strand Magazine, October 1901). With 16 illustrations by Sidney Paget. Without extremely scarce dust jacket. Green & Gibson A26. De Waal A87. Armorial bookplate of English stately house Stapleford Park in Leicester, England, once home to the Earls of Harborough and, at the time of publication, the residence of the first Baron Gretton.
Only light rubbing to spine extremities of original cloth, gilt bright; inner hinge expertly reinforced. An about-fine copy.